It was often said that nothing loosened a man’s lips faster than some good liquor or a beautiful woman.
“This be one fine mead, my friend!” the drunk soldier told the farmer.
“Hic! Good! Yes, but too little…” the other lifted his tankard and looked inside only to find a few drops remaining.
“Bah! That’s not the fault of the mead! You just drink faster than a horse on a hot a summer day!” he retorted.
The farmer laughed.
Seeing them like this, the waitress brought them another round of drinks. She was a beautiful woman barely in her twenties, with brown hair tied behind her back and freckles over her cheeks.
“What’s this? I didn’t order another round?” the soldier asked as he narrowed his eyes at the drinks.
His friend, however, already had his hands around the tankard.
“It’s on the house.” she winked at the soldier, causing him to turn red in the cheeks.
“Well now, I can’t refuse the drink of such a fine lady, can I?” he showed her a smile.
“Oh my, you jest!” she giggled “By the way, have you two heard any rumors about…” she leaned closer to them and whispered “demons?”
“Huh?” the soldiers was surprised to hear such a thing. “Why would we? They haven’t made a move ever since that big war almost 800 years ago.” he shrugged.
“War? What war?” the drunk farmer asked.
“The one against the terrible Demon King Kel’Narian who was defeated by Pallas Herviand, the Great Hero!” soldiered replied.
“Ah, that one! I heard the heroes’ descendants aren’t doing very good though, Duke Herviand’s youngest son, what’s his name… Bark? Lark?” the farmer started scratching the back of his head.
“Gladio-something.” the soldier tried to remember as well, but since the man wasn’t that well known, they were having a hard time.
“Yeah, that one. I’ve heard he is a bit weird in the head, looking for demons and such. Compared to his older brother, he’s like the black sheep of the family.” the farmer nodded and then took a big gulp form his tankard “Puhaaa~ Good drink! And good thing I’m not living on that poor bastard’s land! Hic!”
“Hey, don’t speak like that of nobles. True, he’s a noble with zero achievements under his belt, but he still carries the blood of the legendary Pallas Herviand.” pointed out the soldiers as he looked around, hoping that no one heard him, but all the others patrons here were minding their own drinks.
“Hm, and so of it? Not like he is a hero himself, right? He’s just the fool son of a duke.” the farmer shrugged and took another gulp from his tankard.
“What does this have to do with rumors of demons?” the waitress asked before the two men derailed from the subject any further.
“Huh? Demons? Ah, yes… I haven’t heard any rumor. All I know is that they haven’t crossed Korungor’s border, and that’s all I care about.” the soldier shrugged.
“Korungor? I too heard of them. They be powerful as a monster and the ladies beautiful as a goddess! Hic!” the farmer commented.
“Those are Korungorians, you drunk oaf! They are adventurers who risk their lives for the riches found in Korungor, the land of the demons up North.” the soldier retorted.
“Tomato, potato, onion, cheese! Same thing! Hic!” he took another gulp, but it was empty now. “Huh? Where did my drink go?” he placed the tankard down and then looked around. “Ah! It went in your mug!” he pointed at the soldier’s drink.
“This is mine, you fool!” he retorted.
Seeing the two men starting to quarrel over where the remaining liquor, the waitress slammed her palm on the table. The two stopped immediately and looked at her. For a moment, there was a graveyard silence in the entire tavern.
“I do hope that you two haven’t forgotten that we don’t allow fighting here? Take it outside if you really have to!” she told them with a gentle smile on her lips, although her words were as cold as ice.
The to men gulped in unison and then shook their heads.
“Of course not!” said the soldier.
“Never crossed me mind!” the farmer added.
“Good!” hearing this, the waitress showed them a kind smile and the chilling atmosphere vanished.
“Well, now that you mention it, I did hear something.” said the soldier.
“Hou? What exactly did you hear?” the waitress asked.
“They say there’s this strange demoness lurking around Silverspine Town.”
“Demoness? Not demon?” the waitress tilted her head to the right.
“Yes. The traveler who told me this said he saw her with his own eyes, a beauty that could make the nobles envious, and strength that could topple armies! But that can’t be anything more than hogwash, right?” the soldier showed her a wry smile.
Even he was unwilling to believe such a far fetched tale.
“Who knows? Well, enjoy your drinks now! I’ll be going back to work!” the waitress told them and left their table.
As she got close to the table in the corner of the tavern, the cloaked man sitting there took out a silver coin from his purse. Without hesitation, the waitress took it from him and placed it in her skirt’s pocket.
“Was what they said the truth?” the cloaked man asked.
“Who knows? Rumors are rumors, but those two have probably heard more than I ever did.” she shrugged and then showed him a smile. “Now, is there anything you’d like to order?” she asked.
“A date with you, maybe?” he replied.
“Oh, my! How flattering! I haven’t seen you in a while and you come back asking me out, must be nice working for someone like the Herviand’s youngest son.” she said.
“The Captain has his flaws, but as his Follower, I can attest that he is someone who will one day have his name be known in all the corners of the Varam Kingdom.” he replied with a smile.
“Is that why you are wearing the cloak inside?” she asked raising an eyebrow.
“No, there’s a leakage in your roof.” he then pointed up at the drop of water preparing to fall. “And I’m too lazy to move.” he added.
“Oh, my! I should have someone fix that.” the waitress said.